Rock Island businesses raise concerns over neighboring scrap yard

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 10:48 PM CST
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Some Rock Island business owners are raising concerns about a nearby business and their practices on the southwest side of town.

Several businesses on First Street went to the City Council on Monday to voice concerns about Del’s Metal Company. They claim the scrap yard is polluting the air and damaging roads with increased traffic.

The owners of the recycling facility said they wish other businesses had come to them first before escalating the issue to the city.

For about 10 years, Tom Unley has operated Unley Marine, a repair shop on the corner of 18th Avenue and First Street.

He said smoke from Del’s across the road has his employees and customers leaving with sore throats and a headache.

”When we’re working outside, it’s miserable,” Unley said. “It just continues to get worse and worse, it hasn’t gotten better. We all felt that, that at some point, we just needed to come down the council.”

Del’s has been processing and recycling metal for more than 40 years in the neighborhood. Vice President Christina Caldwell said this is the first time they’ve heard about these complaints.

“We work side by side with the EPA,” Caldwell said. “They have been here and done numerous audits, they have watched us torch. They have never left here with any findings of anything of us polluting the air.”

Second Ward alderman, Randy Hurt, represents the neighborhood. He said the city is trying to get the dispute resolved.

“What we really would like to see is better business practices,” Hurt said. “We’d like to see all the businesses down here continue to thrive and be good neighbors.”

Del’s recently started to rent a plot of land down the road, which leads to another issue for neighbors.

Mark Chronister owner of Custom Covers said he’s noticed an increase in semi trucks traveling down First Street, worsening road conditions.

“[Our customers are] all bringing boats to us.” They’re high-end customers, they don’t want to drag their boats down a road full of potholes and dirt mud, "

Caldwell agrees that something needs to be done with the roads, however, she said it shouldn’t be her business’s responsibility.

“When you turn in, on First Street off of 18th Avenue, the road hasn’t been maintained in 40 years by the city,” Caldwell said. “We do the best that we can do. We’re not in the road grading business.”

On Thursday the city posted a notice on the property rented by Del’s on First Street addressed to TCBK Acres LLC out of davenport.

The letter said the city has concerns over dumpsters and scrap that “Indicates the development of a junkyard.”

It goes on to mention junk yards need to be authorized by the Board of Zoning Appeals, giving the property owners seven days to clear up any municipal violations.

According to the notice, in the city of rock island, junk yards also must obtain a license from the city clerk’s office to operate.